Uganda gets more hydro power


A ‘mini hydro electric plant’, feeding some 6.6MW into the national grid, has been commissioned over the weekend, when the Sri Lankan owned Ishasha Eco-Power ended its test phase and started commercial power generation. Located near Kanungu, the main township in that part of the country and not far from the Southern entrance to Queen Elizabeth National Park, the new power plant is one of several licenses ‘mini plants’ which are either already complete or under construction at select parts of the country, where the parameters are conducive to harness a smaller river without having to go into the construction of a major dam. This method is considered environmentally more friendly, cost effective and long term sustainable and can provide rural populations, at times through a ‘stand alone grid’ with affordable electricity, helping to reduce charcoal and firewood use plus bringing the opportunities of social and business developments into such areas which without electricity would not be possible.

A further four such smaller hydro electric plants are due to come on line this year with a combined output capacity of over 40 MW, while the main Bujagali plant is now expected to commence power generation by late this year with an initial 50 MW. At that stage it is thought that the added capacities will be ending the long and often harsh ‘load shedding’ regime Ugandans have suffered from since 2006, which has impaired economic growth considerably and driven the cost of doing business up.

The Electricity Regulatory Authority has already indicated that it will enforce lower tariffs at that stage, bringing relief to millions of ordinary Ugandan households, manufacturing and industries.